1. Flavour and nutrients
The most frequently bought organic products in our house are carrots. They seem to have more flavour, and as we quite often eat them raw, a tasteless carrot just doesn’t cut the mustard, or the hummus in our case. It has been argued in some studies that some organic fruit and vegetable may have more nutrients and less residual pesticides, but there are also studies that dispute this. I would argue, with no evidence at all, that organic carrots have more flavour. Do a taste test at home and see what you think. However, organic or not, the important thing is to eat fruit and vegetables.
2. Less harm to nature
Organic farmers do use pesticides, but the pesticides they can use are more strictly limited and regulated. The Soil Association also lobby the government to ban the use of pesticides that cause harm to wildlife or humans, like nicotinoids and glyphosates. I would say here that organic farmers only use natural pesticides, however there are a lot of natural things that are not very good for humans…like arsenic, which was used as a pesticide.
3. The environment
Organic farmers endeavour to manage their fields, their crop and their livestock, so as to ensure the long-term health of the land, wildlife and humans. This involves various methods including:
crop rotation, rather than planting the same crop again and again, which may affect the quality of the soil
companion planting, for pest control and to enhance growth
using manure instead of fertilizer, which is renewable and improves soil health
weeding instead of using herbicides
using nitrogen fixing plants like clovers, instead of nitrogen fertilizers.
4. No to GMO crops
Many people think that GMO crops are an ideal solution to world hunger as they promise to increase yield, be suitable for many soil types and environmental conditions, use less water and be resistant to pests etc. The companies that make GMO crops are working hard to make them work. However, the promises have not yet come to fruition. The following is information taken from the Soil Association website:
“The use of Monsanto’s glyphosate (herbicide) has skyrocketed since the introduction of glyphosate-resistant GM crops (made by Monsanto), becoming the most used weed-killer in the world. And these crops create herbicide-resistant ‘super weeds’, trapping farmers in an increasingly expensive arms race where the only winners are the chemical companies”.
Even if you want to avoid GM crops or ingredients for now, a lot of non-organic meat has been fed on GM feed, and they do not have to indicate this on the label.
5. Animal Welfare
All Soil Association Certified organic animal products are free-range. This means they have access to the outdoors for a large portion of the year. The number of animals in one space is limited and their environment needs to encourage more of their natural habits. For example, you can’t put rings through pigs’ noses to stop them rooting in the ground, you can’t clip bird’s beaks, you can’t put pigs in farrowing crates.
For all of us who are not vegan we have to remember that these animals are mostly bred for our gastronomic pleasure and worldly comfort. We are using them for their meat, their milk, their wool, their feathers.
Making sure that high yield does not take unquestioned priority over everything else is a part of certified organic farming. That doesn’t mean it is exclusive to organic farming, but there are rules in place in the organic industry to ensure a higher standard of animal welfare as a precondition of the certification.
6. A more holistic approach
One of the main principles of organic farming is the more holistic approach to how a farm is managed. An organic agricultural system tries to make the most of natural flora and fauna, encouraging natural pest control from wildlife and natural fertilizer from manure or plants that enhance the soils nutrients.
All farmers want to ensure their crops, livestock and land are healthy and want that health to continue into the future. Organic Farming is a different way of ensuring this future health by imposing regulations on how to add nutrients to the soil, how to treat animals, and limiting the type and frequency of chemicals and medicines that can be used. These regulations attempt to reduce any unintentional harm to wildlife or damage to the land and improve animal welfare.
What health benefits have you seen, if any, by changing to eating organic food? Please tell us about your experience - good or bad.
Coming up Monday…… 5 Important Things You Should Look for When Buying Organic Oils – Why it’s a good idea to understand their importance. How many of these points do you know?
Tags: naissance, organic, organic september, standards, certification, soil association, ingredients, animal welfare